There’s something special about the smell of meat being smoked in your backyard. It’s the epitome of man cooking. It’s like pure testosterone. We actually grow chest hair when we smoke meat. Ok, I made the last part up. Few people realize different types of wood can create a completely different taste in the meat. Some woods give the meat a sweet flavor, others bitter and when combined, different woods give a completely unique flavor.
There are some meats such as pork and chicken, which lend themselves to sweet flavors; but what woods do we use to get a sweet flavor? The easiest is fruit woods, which have a naturally sweet flavor infused within them. Apricot, apple, cherry and others will all give your meat a sweet flavor. Some fruits are stronger than others such as cherry and apple, but apricot has a lighter flavor for those wanting a more subtle change. Lemon and grapefruit are exceptions to the rule as they create more of a general smokiness and go great with most meats.
This is the more traditional flavor associated with smoked meat. That rich and delicious flavor that goes with just about anything. One of the most popular woods for this is mesquite or hickory. Pecan and other nut woods will provide a good smoky flavor mixed with a nuttiness that is delicious. Walnut has a very heavy smoky flavor and is best used in conjunction with a lighter wood. Some of the heavier smoky woods can actually make the meat taste bitter, so they are often paired with a lighter or even sweet wood for a remarkable mix of flavors.
Woods to Avoid
While most woods can be used, some are best avoided altogether. Many of the deciduous trees such as pine and spruce aren’t good to use as well as eucalyptus, cedar and cypress. Everyone knows the particular smell of a pine tree and while it’s fine for your floor cleaner, it’s best avoided in your food.
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